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MoveOn.Org Doubles Vermont’S Anti-GMO Legal Defense Fund

For related articles and information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Vermont News page.

A legal defense fund created to defend Vermont's anti-GMO labeling law got a boost this week after liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org made a massive deposit, more than doubling the fund's account balance.

"It's a $53,000 donation that we got from an organization called MoveOn.org," Sarah Clark, deputy commissioner of Vermont's Department of Finance & Management, told Vermont Watchdog.

"They said they had been collecting on behalf of the fund from their members and interested parties and would be sending a donation. So that's what we did receive this week, which essentially more than doubled the balance of the fund."

The Vermont Food Fight Fund, a special fund created by the Legislature, is on track to raise $1.5 million to defend a state law requiring labeling of foods that may contain genetically modified ingredients. Vermont is the first in the nation to require the labeling of GMOs.

On June 12, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, along with three other trade groups, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and Gov. Peter Shumlin, arguing that mandatory labeling of GMOs violates commercial free speech rights.

Since then, the Food Fight Fund has grown from about $17,000 to more than $100,000 - mostly with the help of out-of-state donations. As of Friday, nearly 80 percent of the fund's 964 donations came from outside Vermont.

"There really are a lot from out of state, and even a few from out of the country - primarily, I think, from Canada. So the word has really traveled beyond Vermont's borders," Clark said.

MoveOn.org's commitment to GMO labeling is evidenced by its 2013 campaign to advance GMO label laws in 47 states. The group's "GMO Labeling Now" events included rallies, phone blitzes on governors and state lawmakers, and even a "Monsanto Challenge taste test" - a takeoff of the Pepsi Challenge, in which consumers famously were asked to sample two colas and pick the one they like most.    


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